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What Notaries Can Do To Increase Their Earnings

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Updated 2-5-18. If you want to turn your Notary commission into a career, there are different strategies you can use to earn income aside from basic Notary services. Consider these proven strategies for making the most out of your Notary commission.

Add ‘Mobile’ To Your Notary Title

By becoming a mobile Notary, you travel to a customer’s home or office to perform notarizations. And because of this personalized service, you may charge separate fees for your travel, office supplies, printing or other non-Notary services.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to charge separate travel fees. You may be able to charge the standard IRS mileage rate of 54 cents per mile (2016 rate). Or you might charge flat fees for distances up to 25 miles, 50 miles and so on. Some mobile Notaries charge a flat fee for the entire visit based on travel, administrative services and the number of notarizations needed. How you break down your service fees beyond notarizations generally is up to you, but you should always make sure your client understands and accepts the fees before the appointment.

Valerie Barrett, an experienced mobile Notary in Orange County, California, also charges separate service fees if a mobile Notary request requires additional services or takes place under unusual conditions. For example, sometimes she will be asked to travel outside business hours (such as before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m.), or the notarization may take place on a holiday or at an unusual location such as a jail or airport. In these situations, Barrett contacts the signer in advance to let them know that there will be an additional service fee charged separately from the statutory notarization fee.

Barrett prepared a personal fee checklist for special services that she uses as a reference when negotiating travel or other additional requests such as photocopying documents for a customer. “It’s important to factor in your expenses and keep them in mind when negotiating travel and service fees,” Barrett said. “For example, if I’m going to a jail facility to perform a notarization, I know I will usually be charged for parking. I add that to my travel fee for the trip.”

A few states set limits or specific amounts that can be charged for travel — for example, Maryland allows mobile Notaries to charge $5 plus 31 cents per mile for travel expenses. Always be sure to follow any state rules regarding travel or other service fees, such as photocopying fees. It’s also recommended that you explain to the signer that your travel or administrative fees are separate from the fee for the notarization. And be sure to let the signer know if you charge a travel fee even in the event the notarization can’t be completed due to unforeseen circumstances.

Other Services Notaries Can Offer To Earn Extra Money

While many states limit the maximum fees that can be charged for notarizations, many professional Notaries offer additional services to earn extra income, including the following examples:
  • Courier services for documents.
  • Field inspections to verify information about a business.
  • Offering after-hours/holiday services for an additional fee.
  • Working as a virtual assistant from home performing clerical and adminstrative tasks for clients.
  • Photocopying or faxing services. 
  • Personal concierge services, booking travel, performing errands or shopping for clients.
  • Form I-9 services for employers (restricted in California to qualified and bonded immigration consultants).
  • Wedding officiant: Four states (Florida, Maine, Nevada and South Carolina) authorize Notaries to perform weddings. In other states, you can check your state laws or contact your county clerk's office or local churches or religious organizations to find out how to apply to officiate marriages. 

Become A Notary Signing Agent

One of the most common, and lucrative, income paths for Notaries is working as a Notary Signing Agent, notarizing loan documents and couriering completed loan packages to lenders and title companies. Because these assignments involve more than simply notarizing documents, you are not constrained by state-mandated fee limits.

In general, becoming an NSA is a two-step process. First, most lenders, title companies and settlement services require Signing Agents to pass background screenings — typically on an annual basis. Second, a growing number of companies also want NSAs to have some type of educational certification. Because NSAs are part of the mortgage industry, be aware of the extra requirements and rules. Some states require Notary Signing Agents to obtain a certification or extra credentials, such as a title insurance license, and a few states do not permit Notaries to work as Signing Agents at all.

Because Signing Agents handle sensitive personal customer information, many companies ask Signing Agents to be background screened and certified on an ongoing basis. Learn more about the requirements to be a Signing Agent here.

Once prospective NSAs get the proper certifications, it becomes a simple matter of marketing. As with any business, that’s an ongoing activity. Experienced NSAs also say that finding a mentor often helps newbies become successful. However you approach your Notary career, you can make a difference for yourself and your clients by being smart, creative and committed. As with any career or vocation, if you put in the effort, provide top-notch customer service, and develop a solid reputation of trust, there’s no limit to what you can earn.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

Additional Resources:

Signing Agent FAQs

 

7 Comments

Add your comment

Michael A. Aloe

28 Nov 2016

Good Info.

John Mccoy

28 Nov 2016

At one time there was a list posted to other Notary jobs. One was taking insurance pictures. Can you tell me what else was on the list?

National Notary Association

29 Nov 2016

Hello! Try this link for articles on alternate income opportunities: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/alternate-income-opportunities

Oscar A. Martin

12 Feb 2018

Which states don’t allow notaries to be NSAs?

National Notary Association

13 Feb 2018

Hello. You can find a list of state restrictions here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/support/signing-agents/state-restrictions

L J Pitzer

04 Feb 2019

I have received many requests for "Wedding Officiant" opportunity after I become ordained with an online church. I just not very confident in replying/accepting the opportunity yet. I need to practice? Any comments?

Stefanie

08 Feb 2019

This article was very helpful and informative

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